They heard stories at the migrant worker camp, mostly from scruffy townsfolk who worked for a meal and left at the end of the day. The stories usually went that something—or someone had come to Hamelin and claimed he could drive the rats away. No one believed it. No one believed much at the migrant camp.
"Scam," said the oldest workers, the ones with bent backs and burnt faces. They leaned on their shovels and nodded to each other. "He'll demand money right there and then he'll run."
"Think so, huh?" the younger, less bitter workers would ask, and they'd look at each other and smirt.
Then the oldest workers would look up at the sky, with not a cloud to be seen, and then they'd flick cigarette ashes everywhere and look at Darkly Dreams. He was still shoveling even as the sweat poured off him and he coughed up yellow mucus. The oldest workers asked, "What do you think, boy? Scam, or not?"
And Darkly Dreams would keep working and grind his rotten teeth, and the workers young and old